Symud i'r prif gynnwys

WAR-TIME EVACUATION TO THE NATIONAL LIBRARY OF WALES by Sir WILLIAM Ll. DAVIES, M.A., F.S.A. As far back as the end of 1933 the Right Hon. W. A. Ormsby-Gore, M.P. (now Lord Harlech), who was then First Commissioner of Works, called together the Directors of various national institutions (libraries, museums, and art galleries) in London to discuss with them a scheme by which, in the event of the outbreak of another war, the most important and valuable of their possessions could be removed for safety to places in the country. At the same time he produced a list of country houses and other repositories where such material could, possibly, be accom- modated. The first approach to the National Library of Wales came from Dr. Arundell Esdaile, then Secretary of the British Museum, who wrote on January 19, 1934 May I ask whether your Court would be prepared to provide again the hospitality which they provided during the War of 1914- 18? At present I can readily believe your spare capacity is much less than it was then, but your new building plans will probably give you, at any rate for a time, considerable accession to spare space. The deposit would consist of books, manuscripts, and prints and drawings, and not, of course, of antiquities, for which other repositories are being sought. Dr. Esdaile was informed that the Council had expressed its willing- ness to afford any facilities it could on the lines indicated by him. No further approaches were made, however, until 1938. By that time the international situation had deteriorated so much that other institutions began to look to the Library for sanctuary for their treasures. Before the Munich agreement of September, 1938, that is, twelve months before the actual outbreak of war, applications had been received, in addition to that of the British Musuem, from ten other institutions, among them being the National Gallery. Arrangements were made to allot certain space for the accommodation of material from all of those institutions-in fact, four consignments of material had actually reached the Library before the Munich agreement-and to accommodate staff from the British Museum and the National Gallery. As might be expected, other institutions in London and elsewhere heard of these facilities and made similar approaches, with the result that in course of time it was agreed to provide a home for valuable material from a very large number of institutions. And so, throughout the war years,